Even though the Muslims accused of conspiring the 2006
Malegaon blast would not be able to celebrate Eid in the town as
their bail papers would be completed only by Tuesday, relatives
and kin of the accused, and local residents alike greeted the
court order by distributing sweets.
"This is the moment we all were
waiting for since last many years and many Eids", Iqbal Makhdumi,
a retired teacher and father of Dr Farogh Makhdumi said while
speaking to ummid.com.
Dr Farogh Makhdumi is one of the
accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case who was chargesheetd by
the Maharashtra ATS in 2007.
"Though they will not be here in
Malegaon with us for Eid, it is indeed pleasant to realise that
the testing time is over and they will be with us after few days.
That will be our real Eid", a beaming Iqbal Makhdoomi said.
"The joy of my daughter-in-law and
grandchildren is inexpressible. They hoped the court release order
would have come few days earlier and Farogh would have been with
us for Eid", he added.
The Special MCOCA Court order which
granted the nine accused bail today afternoon coincided with
Eid-ul-Adha, one of the major Muslim festivals which falls on
The feelings of Jameel Masihullah,
the elder brother of Shabbir Masihullah, the other accused in the
case, are also same.
"No words can describe our feelings.
Though there is a pain that it took more than four years for these
innocents to come out of jail, the court order is satisfying in
the sense that the steps toward correcting the mistakes done five
years back have begun", he said.
Iqbal Makhdoomi and Jameel Masihulla
during the last about five years tried hard to get legal
assistance and political support in favour of the accused. Along
with their own kin, the duo also worked for the other accused as
they were not economically so strong and could not afford to
travel to Mumbai and Delhi for legal and political assistance.
Local leaders and residents too are
excited after hearing the court order.
"The court order is the first step
toward vindicating our stand that these youth are innocent and
were wrongly framed in the case", Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari, the
front leader of Kul Jamaati Tanzeem said.
Kul Jamaati Tanzeem comprising of
the religious heads of different Muslim sects was formed after the
2006 blasts to fight the cases of the accused. They ran the
campaign for the release of the accuse which is perhaps longest in
the history of the town.
"The Court order is a relief for
everyone as demands for the release of these innocents were being
raised for the last many years", Shakeel Ahmed, a shopkeeper said.
A series of blasts had struck
Malegaon on September 08 in 2006 ahead of Shab-e-Barat, a
Muslim festival when thousands of people were busy offering Friday
prayers at the Hamidia Masjid. Another blast occurred at nearby
Mushawerat chowk few minutes later. 37 people were killed and more
than 300 were injured in the blasts, most of them being children -
Demands were raised for fair probe
in the case as immediately after the incident rumours started
taking rounds that sectarian differences among the Muslims or
revenge of 2001 communal riots were the reasons for the blast and
investigations pointed fingers at local Muslims. The government
and the probe agencies did not pay any heed to these demands and
arrested six Muslim youth allegedly belonging to banned Muslim
outfit SIMI one after the another for conspiring the terror
attack. They inducted three more Muslims - one from Malegaon and
the other two from Jalgaon, who were already in jail at the time
of the incident.
Ironically, Zahid Ahmed, one of the
accused in the case and later chargesheeted as one of the
planters, was arrested from Phoolsawangi - a town 600 kms from
Malegaon. There is evidence that the man was there on September
08, 2006 when the blasts took place in Malegaon.
However, nothing stopped the
investigating agencies from arresting these youths and
chargesheeting them in a crime which now becoming clear that they
were not responsible of. The mistake was carried forward even by
the CBI when it took over the investigation of case after much of
The case, however, took a surprising
turn when Swami Aseemanand, allegedly involved in Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and
Samjhuata Express blasts, confessed that Hindu extremists, some of
them already wanted in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, were
also behind the 2006 Malegaon blast. The development forced the
government to hand over the case to the NIA which after thorough
investigations of the case on the line of Aseemanand's confession
and fresh brain mapping and polygraph tests of the nine accused
finally gave indications in the court today that prima-facie it
did not find any proof against them.
Incidentally, the NIA's stand in the
court and statements by ministers including Home Minister P
Chidamabaram, which also appeared in the media with regular
intervals in the past few months, raise several questions in the
mind of the people.
"When NIA indicates that their probe
did not find any evidence against the accused why they do not
discharge the cases filed against them?", asked Iqbal Makhdumi.
"It is now the time for the
government to openly come with a declaration that the
investigating agencies did mistakes and wrongly framed the
innocents in the case. And, as the government in Andhra Pradesh
did, it should also withdraw all the cases against these innocent
youths who have already suffered a lot by spending more than four
years without any fault", Maulana Azhari said.